The 6 Most Awesome Comic Book Presidents
Hail to the Chief, baby! President’s Day was this past Monday, so I’ve decided to celebrate by showcasing some of the coolest and weirdest fictional presidents in comic books. Surprisingly, the Commander in Chief rarely plays a big role in comic books. I know Marvel Comics usually likes to use the real world POTUS whenever he’s needed, and DC Comics throws up a stand-in whenever a superhero interacts with the Oval Office. But where’s the fun in any of that? Especially when Marvel uses President Obama in a terrible story with the Chameleon, to support the evil Norman Osborn or to indirectly order the Avengers to attack the X-Men in Avengers vs. X-Men. What’s up with that, Marvel?
Of course, comics have also given us Barack the Barbarian!
Hopefully that will be the title of his eventual movie biography. Sarah Palin plays Red Sonja. So clearly the real President has a place in comics, but what about the fictional Presidents? Who are the characters that the writers make up for their story? That’s who I want to explore! So here are the 6 coolest (and sometimes creepiest) comic book presidents.
6. Vic the VEEP
There is no more dim-witted man in the history of politics than Vic the VEEP from The Boys. But then that’s the point. Vic is a mentally-handicapped stooge planted firmly in the pocket of Voight America, the corporation that controls almost all of the world’s superheroes. And its their political clout that got an ignoramus like Vic shoved onto the Republican ticket alongside President ‘Dakota Bob’ in the first place. The plan is to orchestrate a coup against Dakota Bob to get Vic in the Oval Office, so that Voight can get some big, fat superhero defense contracts. When Vic eventually does succeed Dakota Bob – due to a random, rabid wolverine attack – he has just enough time to screw everything up before the superheroes…well…if you’re familiar with what kind of stuff that happens in The Boys, you know it’s not safe to print Vic the VEEP’s eventual fate.
5. Margaret Valentine
What’s a surefire way to get a woman elected President? How about creating a virus that kills all men in the world, and then the Presidential line of succession falls to the Secretary of the Agriculture? That’s exactly what happened in Y: The Last Man, leaving Margaret Valentine to step up and try to keep the country together when almost every single man in the world dies in a sudden outbreak. Fortunately, it turns out that the last surviving man, Yorick, just happens to have a Congresswoman for a mother, so Valentine kind of knows that there’s hope for the human race. Margaret Valentine eventually won reelection because, and I quote, “Nobody knows where Oprah is hiding.”
4. Gary “The Smiler” Callahan
I get that a lot of people don’t like President Obama, but he’s nothing like President Gary “The Smiler” Callahan from Transmetropolitan. In a far flung future, where The City is a sprawling landscape of sex, drugs, vice and crime, the cheerful, smiling Callahan is elected to Office by a wide margin. If only people knew the truth, that he’s actually a vicious, monstrous, psychotic madman who only wants to be president so that he can use his power to torture people. Fortunately, underground journalist Spider Jerusalem (possibly the greatest name in fiction) is there to use the power of the press to oust this corrupt bastard. I support all stories where the newspaper reporter is the hero.
3. Captain America
When the country is being torn in half by domestic terrorists, who are you going to elect? Captain freakin’ America, that’s who! Or at least, Ultimate Captain America. In the alternate reality stories of Ultimate Comics, the United States came under attack by the forces of HYDRA. In response, the American people voted in a special election and wrote-in Captain America as the new President of the United States. Good old Steve Rogers then took the ‘Commander in Chief’ thing literally and personally led the battle against HYDRA. He’s probably not going to have as much fun when he finds out he has to wear suits and attend state dinners. Or maybe he’ll stay a superhero the whole time and rack up more in-office beatings than Andrew Jackson.
2. Lex Luthor
Lex Luthor was elected President of the United States. Lex “Superman’s arch-enemy” Luthor was ELECTED President of the United States! How the hell did that happen? Were all of the voters drunk, blind and deaf or something? Luthor ran on a forward-thinking technology platform, playing upon his skills as a businessman, and gaining the sympathy vote after he helped rebuild Gotham City following a devastating earthquake. So when Lex assumed the highest office in the land, there wasn’t jack squat that Superman could do about it. Lex didn’t stop the super-villain stuff once he was President. He made weapons deals with evil alien overlords and failed to let anyone know about an impending invasion, resulting in the destruction of Topeka. He also told the world that Superman was responsible for a deadly asteroid about to hit the Earth, offering a $1 billion bounty for the Man of Steel. It was only after Luthor suited up in some giant metal armor and actually duked it out with Superman in the middle of DC that he was finally kicked out of office. What the hell took them so long?
Smells like teen President. The 70s were apparently a very cool time. Because in 1973, for only four issues, DC Comics published a series call Prez: First Teen President. And it was literally about a kid named Prez Rickard (his mom hoped he’d be president one day) getting elected Senator and then President of the United States of America after the age requirement is lowered. It was apparently some kind of commentary on the youth movement at the time, but then Prez would go on to appoint his mom as Vice President, fight legless vampires and bring on a grossly stereotyped Native American boy named Eagle Free as director of the FBI. Oh and also, Eagle Free taught Prez kung fu. Because this was Prez, dammit! The guy’s T-shirt had his name and the seal of office on it! But then for some reason, this series was abruptly cancelled after four issues. Why has it no been revived as a sitcom yet?